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Jan 21, 2016 5:34 PM

UPDATE: Manchester crews battle fire, cold temps after possible squatter starts blaze

MANCHESTER - Fire crews in Manchester were called out to 49 West St. in Manchester at 5 a.m. Thursday morning.

“I saw a bunch of fire trucks and a lot of smoke and I came out on the back porch and it was just all black,” said Heather Spears who lives right next door.

The call came in from a passerby who said the two family home was on fire. The home has been vacant over the past few weeks and crews say the utilities have been shut off.

“I sat in my living room and poured a cup of coffee and [was] just watching. When I looked out I saw a bunch of fire trucks,” said one neighbor across the street.

District Chief Jim Michael said it appears the fire started upstairs, but the cause still unknown. However, he is sure of a theory on how it started.

“Well the building was unoccupied, no power and no utilities. We think there was someone living there illegally, often that is someone trying to keep warm and they end up setting the house on fire,” said Michael.

“I didn’t see any anybody out front, no civilians or anything like that,” said one neighbor.

Homes on either side were evacuated and looked on all morning fearing for the safety of their own homes.

“This is a very difficult part of the city,” Michael said. “The ladder truck is pretty much unable to go up because it’s very tight quarters and normally we'd like to have more than one truck in there.”

Cold temperatures were also a challenge as fire crews worked to keep lines from the truck to the house from freezing.

The fire remains under investigation.

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